Yesterday I received a quarterly email from an adoption agency granting access to a website where they list waiting children available for adoption. I don't know why I must look at all of their sweet faces; we are not in any position to adopt again and not even talking about it but I just have to look when I know a new list has been posted. Self control is not a strong suit of mine when I know there are so many children needing families.
As I was looking at the many, many sweet boys on the list I clicked on one and both girls appeared over my shoulder. Emily said "oh, he's so cute, isn't he cute Claire?"
Claire looked at the many children on my computer screen and looked a bit confused. Eventually she asked "mommy, whasthat?" in her cute accent. I told her all these children need a family to love them....just like you did. I knew when it came out of my mouth that the answer I would get back wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear but I continued anyway.
Me: You needed a family and we wanted you to be our little girl.
Claire: Huh? I have family...China.
What do you say? At the tender age of 7 and not a full understanding of English, I left it fairly simple.
"Your family in China couldn't keep you forever but we can; we will be your family forever."
She looked at me sort of confused and I left it at that. Most likely it will be years before she understands her whole story. We have good reasons to assume she didn't know she was a foster child and after six years with the same family, I'm sure she feels like the rug was pulled out from under her. The only thing we can do is reassure her each and every time that we are forever, that she will never be taken from us. We also tell her that her family in China loved her and they still do and it's OK for her heart to love two families. Right now she doesn't want any contact with her foster family and it is hard for me to tell them that but I have reassured them that we know they love her and we will keep a dialogue with them so she can have the opportunity to explore that time in her life when she's ready.